A reflection on Albany's summer: grief and hope in our community

spray pad.jpg

Like many of our neighbors, we are heartbroken over the recent incidences of violence in the City of Albany. In addition to the immense grief suffered by family members and loved ones of the victims, we know that entire neighborhoods also experience trauma in the wake of violence. This summer, we are deeply reminded that everyone deserves a safe and decent place to live.

Our neighborhoods should be places where everyone feels safe, respected and welcomed. We applaud the great work being done by community partners to achieve this goal. News coverage might have you believe that this has been a tragic summer in Albany. That’s not the full story.

A fuller story might mention that the playground and spray park in Sheridan Hollow was completely revamped and upgraded this summer, providing children in the neighborhood with a beautiful and safe place to play. A fuller story might include stories of success from the many community organizations that work each day to provide services and push for structural change to improve our neighborhoods, cities and region.

A more complete story would describe the investments happening—Habitat homes and other private development—stabilizing blocks and providing new housing opportunities. The accurate story of the cities of Albany and Troy would acknowledge that alongside isolated incidences of violence, there are powerful connections being made between neighbors, laughter and learning taking place in our children, and seeds of hope being planted each day.

We can’t ignore the ugly parts of our collective experience, but neither should we ignore the beauty and hope present in our community. At Habitat, we’re proud to partner with our neighbors to help build a strong, safer community.